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Italy’s ’green pass’ becomes compulsory on long-distance public transport from Wednesday

Police stepped up patrols at train stations and airports across Italy on Wednesday after protests were threatened against the expansion of the health pass scheme.

Italy's ’green pass’ becomes compulsory on long-distance public transport from Wednesday
Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

Starting September 1st, Italy’s coronavirus ‘green pass’ health certificate is now obligatory for passengers on some forms of public transport, including long-distance trains, domestic flights and ferries.

Under the new decree law, school and university staff will need the pass in the new school year, as will university students. 

The certificate has already been required since early August to enter cinemas, museums and indoor sports venues, or to eat indoors at restaurants.

READ ALSO: Q&A: Your questions answered about Italy’s Covid health pass

The health certificate proves bearers have either been vaccinated with at least one dose, have recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months, or have tested negative in the previous 48 hours.

The Italian interior ministry ordered police checks to be strengthened at train stations, ports and airports across the country from Tuesday night after anti-vaccine protesters said they planned to disrupt the public transport network, Rai reports.

The leader of Italy’s neo-fascist Forza Nuova group, which is among those organising protests against the health pass and Covid-19 vaccines, told the Adnkronos news agency: “We will be in all stations to block departing trains” on September 1st.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said there will be ‘zero tolerance’ for anyone found guilty of trying to interrupt a public service, which is a crime in Italy, while trade unions stated that “anyone who decides to interrupt services, in the name of the freedom to not get vaccinated, will not have our support”.

So far no major disruption or delays have been reported.

Photo: Piero CRUCIATTI/AFP

What are the new rules?

The pass will now be required when boarding domestic flights and ferries as well as international services. It will not be a requirement on city buses or other forms of local public transport.

All passengers on high-speed train services (Le Frecce and Italo) and on Intercity services will also need to show a ‘green pass’.

The pass will be verified on board the train along with tickets, reports Italian news agency Ansa

READ ALSO: What changes for tourists coming to Italy in September?

“In the event that the traveller does not show the pass or it turns out to be invalid, the traveller is invited to move to an area reserved for passengers without a green pass and will have to get off at the next stop,” Ansa writes.

The Strait of Messina ferry route, which connects Sicily with mainland Italy, is considered a local public transport route and is exempted from the requirement, according to the Italian news site Avvenire.

Children under 12 are exempt from the ‘green pass’ requirement. The rules apply to everyone over that age, including tourists.

Italy recognises all equivalent health passes from other EU countries and proof of immunisation issued from any of these five non-EU countries, including on paper.

READ ALSO: Can tourists and visitors use Italy’s Covid ‘green pass’ to access museums, concerts and indoor dining?

That means visitors just need to carry the official proof of vaccination issued by your home country, such as a CDC-approved vaccination card from the US, a provincial immunisation card from Canada or an NHS vaccination certificate from the UK.

If you do not have a pass from one of these countries and plan on using public transport or going to a venue or event in Italy that requires a green pass, you will need to get tested in Italy (or elsewhere in the EU) in order to claim a certificate that remains valid for 48 hours.

Member comments

  1. What about travelers from US, assuming allowed entry to Italy with proof of vaccination and negative COVID test? Will CDC vax card be accepted for the long distance trains?

    1. How can you get a Green Pass as an American?

      If you only hold a USA passport, you won’t be able to get a green pass before you get to Europe.
      Once you’re IN EUROPE, however, you can get a Green Pass by simply getting a Covid test in Europe. On our recent trip to Italy, we presented ourselves at a pharmacy, took a quick antigen test, and the Green Pass was in our email inbox within about 30 minutes.

    1. How can you get a Green Pass as an American?

      If you only hold a USA passport, you won’t be able to get a green pass before you get to Europe.
      Once you’re IN EUROPE, however, you can get a Green Pass by simply getting a Covid test in Europe. On our recent trip to Italy, we presented ourselves at a pharmacy, took a quick antigen test, and the Green Pass was in our email inbox within about 30 minutes.

      1. Stephanie, I am a dual citizen and have an Italian passport but was vaccinated in US. So that means your comment still applies to me?

  2. My colleague is an Italian Citizen but was vaccinated in the USA as he splits his time between there and Italy. I know in theory his CDC vaccination card should allow him the same access as a Green Pass when in Italy, however does anyone know if there is a way he can get an EU vaccine certificate / Green Pass through his CDC card proving his vaccination, so he has one for good? This will avoid any issues with venues / vendors that may decide not to accept the CDC card.

  3. Can anyone help me in a) telling me what sort of covid test is needed to fly back from Venice to U.K., b) does the certificate have to be in English and c)where can I get the relevant test – can you just drop in at a local farmacia?
    Finally, how hellish are the immigration queues at LHR/LGW?
    Thanks in anticipation…

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STRIKES

Calendar: The transport strikes to expect in Italy this February

Travellers are once again set to face serious disruption as Italy will experience a new round of transport strikes in February. Here's what you can expect in the coming weeks.

Calendar: The transport strikes to expect in Italy this February

Travel to, from and across Italy was disrupted by dozens of strikes in January

And, while many travellers might have hoped for a change in the trend, strikes are set to continue into February as Italian unions have already announced a further round of demonstrations affecting rail and public transport services as well as airline travel.

Here’s an overview of February’s main strike actions, including a national public transport strike on Friday, February 17th and another nationwide walkout from airport ground staff on Tuesday, February 28th.

Public transport

February 17th: Public transport staff will take part in a national 24-hour strike on Friday, February 17th. 

The strike was called in late January by Italian union USB (Unione Sindacale di Base) to protest against precarious work and “wild privatisation” attempts on the part of the Italian state.

READ ALSO: Should you travel in Italy when there’s a strike on?

There currently aren’t any details as to what percentage of workers will take part in the action. As such, the amount of disruption travellers should expect on the day cannot be estimated yet. 

Air travel

February 12th: Air traffic control staff at Perugia’s San Francesco d’Assisi airport will take part in a 24-hour strike action on Sunday, February 12th. 

It isn’t yet clear how the walkout in question will affect air travel to and from the airport on the day.

Travellers at an Italian airport

A national strike from ground service staff may cause delays and queues at many Italian airports on Tuesday, February 28th. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

February 28th: Baggage handlers and other airport ground service staff will take part in a national 24-hour strike on Tuesday, February 28th. 

It isn’t yet clear how the strike will affect air travel during the day, though a similar demonstration caused significant delays and queues at some Italian airports in late January.

ENAV air traffic operators based in Calabria are also expected to strike on February 28th, with the walkout set to start at 1pm and end at 5pm.

Rail

February 5th-6th: Calabria-based Trenitalia staff will strike from 9pm on Sunday, February 5th to 9pm the following day. 

A list of guaranteed services in the region is available here.

February 9th: Staff from Lombardy’s Trenord will take part in a 22-hour strike – from 2am to 11.50pm – on Thursday, February 9th.

Empty train platform in Codogno, Lombardy

Staff from Lombardy’s regional railway operator Trenord will strike for 22 hours on Thursday, February 9th. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

It’s currently unclear whether Trenord will operate minimum services on the day. Any information regarding the strike will be released on the following website page

February 12th-13th: Trenitalia staff in Emilia-Romagna will strike from 3.30am on Sunday, February 12th to 2.30am on Monday, February 13th.

A list of guaranteed services in the region is available here.

February 19th: Veneto-based Trenitalia staff will strike from 9am to 5pm on Sunday, February 19th. 

Guaranteed services are available here.

On the same day, there will be no service between Milan’s Milano Centrale station and Paris’s Gare de Lyon due to a strike from staff at France’s national railway company SNCF.

READ ALSO: Trains and planes: Italy’s new international travel routes in 2023

February 20th: Trenitalia personnel in Lombardy are expected to strike from 9am to 5pm on Monday, February 20th. 

Guaranteed services haven’t been made available yet. 

You can keep up to date with the latest strike news from Italy HERE.

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